Travel insurance provides appropriate cover for a person when they make a trip abroad, with medical expenses, lost luggage and flight cancellations among the risks that are included in a policy. However, UAE residents are being urged to check the small print to ensure that there are no gaps in provision.

While the vast majority of holidays go without a hitch, a policy that isn’t tailored to the needs of travellers can leave them short of cover if there is an emergency while they’re abroad. Experts say that insurance policies provided by reputable companies often look ideal at first glance, and generally cover the basics, but that the one-size-fits-all approach does have its disadvantages. 

Rather than relying on a policy included as part of a travel booking, which is unlikely to be bespoke or well-suited to individual circumstances, travellers should instead compare travel insurance policies online and consult a broker to ensure that they are not left short in times of need. The process is usually simple and intuitive, and there are no inherent drawbacks. 

“If you buy travel insurance as an add-on with the outbound airline, it may only cover a one-way journey rather than the return trip,” Nexus Insurance Brokers’ Business Development Director Paul Brierley says. “Insurers often place a time limit on a one-way policy, with some only offering a maximum of seven days’ cover. If the total holiday is longer than a week, you won’t be covered for the whole trip.”

When looking at the conditions of an insurance plan, it is important to sift through all the small print and finer details so that the extent of the coverage available while travelling can be fully comprehended. This will minimise the risk of having to pay out large sums of money when falling foul of a small technicality.

A few of the things that are generally excluded from standard insurance plans include existing medical conditions such as illnesses, pregnancy and childbirth, and high-risk activities. If travellers want to engage in more dangerous activities – for example, riding a scooter when abroad – it is important to take out an optional policy add-on for an additional premium.

Trip cancellation is another factor to consider. The majority of mainstream plans in the UAE only cover cancellation in the case of a death or illness for the person taking out the insurance policy or immediate family. Some policies also provide cover if higher authorities force the person in question to remain in the UAE for some reason. 

Finally, theft or loss can be a traumatic event while on holiday, but it is important to act quickly for compensation. Travel insurance usually provides cover if the relevant authorities are notified within 24 hours of the theft taking place. Full documentation also needs to be provided.

Brierley concludes: “Check the fine-print and check the exclusions before clicking ‘buy now’, and if there is any doubt or confusion, consult a broker. Make sure your travel insurance is right for you, so you have the peace of mind to enjoy your break.” 


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